The LA Times recently let iconic designer Philippe Stark loose on a shopping spree to the thrift store chain Big Lots to find out his take on living elegantly and economically. Once in the store, Stark grabbed a cart and said “We shall see. Give me 20 minutes.”

Stark roamed the aisels of the store packed with closeout merchandise on a mission to find items that caught his eye but also reflected his embrace of sensible consumerism by selecting quality over quantity.

“You must be very rigorous,” he says, sifting through discounted wares in search of the gems. “Try to find the essence, the most iconic or simple representation of a thing. Look for the bowl that looks most like a bowl. That means we must avoid colors and patterns, and everything that can be trendy.”

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